At the onset, it would be proper to understand the background to the use of 508 at the workplace and to compare it to the more proactive affirmative action that society is used to knowing about. As society became industrialized and more people began to go out to earn a living, it soon became evident that there are certain background disparities on the ground. IN order to make society more equitable, it became necessary to take positive action to address the disadvantages that some folks faced while going to work and to earn a living.
What is the rehabilitation act of 1973?
As information technology came to be used more in the work spheres, it soon became evident that some folks are placed at a disadvantage because they are differently abled or handicapped in some manner when it comes to using the new interfaces.
For instance, a person with a disabled set of fingers would find it hard to use a keyboard of a computer or the typewriter of the older ages. This meant that such persons were severely hampered in the progress in careers and in participating in societal activities most of the time.
The rehabilitation act of 1973 was introduced to mandate it necessary to provide for some basic access to computers and other implements that would have made the functioning of the workforce absolutely necessary. It was at the basic onset an effort at maintaining a level playing field for those people who were at a disadvantage and for no particular reason of theirs.
How did affirmative action come about?
Affirmative action was of a different nature most of the time. Here people who were prejudiced against due to their appearances and ethnicity were being pushed into participating in society in a larger manner. In most cases, affirmative action tended to give political backing to the disadvantaged parts of society.
Now there were different forms in which affirmative action played out in society. It was more of a positive push to capable members of the disadvantaged to take up more responsible positions.
Comparing affirmative action to 508 compliance
The issue of 508 compliance was one of empowerment of the disabled most of the time. By accessing equipment like computers and other means of communication, it became possible for the differently abled to participate as normal people in the workforce. By having the devices sufficiently modified to cater to the disadvantaged, it became possible for the parties to actively take part in day to day functioning of the work areas.
So while the use of affirmative action was to introduce the disadvantaged sections of society to the mainstream activities, the 508 compliance was the leveraging of a person’s abilities most of the time.
Both the 508 compliance and affirmative action have contributed immensely to the introduction of differently abled and people of different backgrounds. What is noteworthy is that while the affirmative action tends to be a facilitator, the 508 compliance tends to be an empowering force most of the time.